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William F. Buckley, Jr., RIP

February 27, 2018

There were some “Greats” during the rise of the conservative movement. William F. Buckley, Jr., who died ten years ago today, was one of them. He was especially valuable to conservative college students.

I was a member of group of young conservatives at the University of Pittsburgh and was privileged to drive Bill Buckley from Greater Pittsburgh airport to the Pitt Student Union where I introduced him. By then I was a well-known conservative enfant terrible and the audience erupted in boos when I suggested that National Review was “the conscience of America.”  Buckley remarked that he had never heard such a response to an introduction to one of his speeches and suggested that my calling NR “the conscience of America” was hyperbole that had aroused the audience.

When I got home I looked up the word hyperbole.

As a life-long Pittsburgher, I was proud when on the drive from the airport to Pitt we exited a tunnel and that grand cityscape of Pittsburgh was revealed. Buckley was excited and amazed by the stunning view.

Bill developed a practice of responding to those who wrote to him. I have dozens of such one-sentence missives in  my “archives.” The conservative movement from 1955 to 1980 was “the” place to be in American politics and Bill Buckley made that “happen” for me and generations of young conservatives.

 

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